Changing seasons mean new risks on the road, no matter where you live.
Here are four seasonally specific driving hazards to watch out for this October and November.
Daytime temperatures might still be leaving you in short sleeves, but fall nights bring ever cooler temperatures. The fluctuation between day- and nighttime temperatures can affect the air pressure levels in your vehicle’s tires.
The temperature-induced expanding and contracting happening to the air inside your tires can lead to lesser tire pressure. This puts you at a higher risk of getting a flat tire—or of accidentally popping one with a curb check too hard.
Keep a vigilant eye on your tires and make sure they stay aired up all season long.
In many states, the transitional seasons (spring and fall) are known for bringing a lot of wind. But those strong gusts won’t just be blowing around falling leaves or tumbleweeds, depending on where you live.
Particularly windy days might bring unsafe driving conditions. For desert dwellers, that could mean dust storms; elsewhere, high winds could affect your ability to drive a straight line and stay out of other cars’ paths.
No matter where you’re driving into them, high winds also add drag to your car. This makes the vehicle work harder to maintain speed—and sinks your gas mileage.
Whether it’s visibility, control, or cash that’s at stake, be sure to check the weather and know when the winds might affect your commute. Consider taking the bus instead if that’s an option for you on really windy days.
Another effect of changing weather patterns in autumn is increased moisture. This might mean morning and evening fog, frost on the roads, or rain showers.
Mornings are particularly hazardous, as sleepy drivers head out into patch or thick fog, or the possibility of frost on the roads. Fog affects visibility, which could increase your chances of getting into a car accident, while frosty roads are a skid or slip hazard.
Exercise caution by giving yourself extra room to react, keeping your speed low, and maintaining a watchful eye on the road around you. The same goes for days when rain drizzles or showers make the roads slick.
Weather woes aren’t the only possible autumnal hazards on the roads. Increased traffic brings new dangers, as well.
With more people choosing to drive to work in poor weather, an influx of students on the roads in college towns, families home from their summer vacations, and snowbirds coming to town in the warmer climes, traffic is bound to be heavier than it was all summer.
Although the tourists and their lack of local road knowledge have left the road, the increase in locals and pseudo-locals can lead to longer and slower commutes, as well as more accidents in general. Pay attention to the drivers around you and give yourself space to react when others are driving dangerously or are not paying attention.
Being careful is the name of the game this fall. Enjoy the changing weather, but be sure to drive safely!